“(Wikipedia) ‘An Expatriate (often shortened to Expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).
This blog aims to discover people who are adventurers like me, venturing out in a new place to call home and creating memories. I have previously lived with my parents and siblings in the Saudi Arabia when I was in high school. I have enjoyed and cherished my memories in the beautiful Sandbox I once called my home. Now, I am in a new adventure with my husband and sons here in Singapore.
I am featuring Expats in different countries every two weeks to share their experiences and adventures with you and me.
I met this featured expat in one of the Blog Meet Sg, founded by lifetsyle blogger, Lucy Winthrop. Here is a little introduction on our lovely expat, Frog Michaels.
Frog Michaels is a columnist, a blogger (changmoh.com) and lately, the author of the sell-out cookbook ‘A Helping Hand’ – a cookbook focusing on manageable, delicious predominantly Western recipes written in both English and Filipino (there are a lot of hard-working helpers from the Philippines here in Singapore and this has become a hit in kitchens across Singapore as it helps make for happier households). Her first edition flew off the shelves and she has just launched the second edition that includes a cover quote from a Paris-based chef who has been featured in the Michelin Guide Paris 2016. It is sold in Singapore and Hong Kong and will be in Dubai later this year as well as Manila.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are originally from?
I am from the UK – I grew up in Scotland in fact. My husband is half Chinese Singaporean and half English, so this country (Singapore) is a place I feel very at home in.
2. What made you move to Singapore? How long have you been here?
We moved because of my husband’s job (we were living in the UK before). He is a lawyer. We have been in Singapore for 9 years now and time seems to have flown. I put this down to Singapore’s lack of seasons as well as to having children, things just seem to speed up.
3. What do you miss about your home country?
Not the weather (it rains quite a lot)! Old friends, family and the fact that you now can’t always be around for the landmark moments. We have recently bought a place in France, in the Loire, and there are things I miss about France too – mainly the organic food, the cheese and the wine
4. What are the wonderful discoveries and things you like about in Singapore?
I have a blog over at changmoh.com and it’s packed full of discoveries and lovely local things to do here in Singapore. There is nothing I like more than finding a ‘hidden gem’ – a shop you might otherwise miss, or not know about – and share my find and support it via my blog. It gave me a great excuse when I first arrived here to get out and about and really explore the island.
5. What are the 3 tips you can give to fellow expats in Singapore or those you planning to move here?
Be interested and interesting
Eat the local food- it’s fantastic.
6. Where do you get your inspirations? Who or what inspires you?
I am hugely inspired by food and cooking. This is partly due to Singapore’s love affair with all things culinary – you can’t live here and not care about what you eat! Our house in France (it is located in the small, wine producing region of Chinon) has opened my eyes to local French produce that I get to experience, eat and cook with on a daily basis over the summer months when we are there. The markets are something else! The whole idyllic countryside existence makes you realise that good food doesn’t have to be hugely fancy or time consuming to prepare. This actually formed part of the rationale behind my cookbook ‘A Helping Hand’ which is full of simple, yet simply delicious, mainly Western recipes. I am very proud of the cover quote on the 2nd edition which is from a Paris-based chef Damien Boudier whose restaurant is in the Michelin Guide. He claims my book ‘A Helping Hand’ is all about “Western cuisine made beautifully easy.”
8. Share with my readers more about your English/Filipino Cookbook.
A Helping Hand was created to make for happy households. I worked on it for just over three years. The concept for it evolved almost overnight when we were in France one summer holiday and I was cooking from the French cookbook Cuisine du Monde that I found lying around the house we were staying in. My French is pretty proficient but I struggled with all the cooking terminology. It was even more thrilling that a cookbook like this hadn’t yet reached the shores of Singapore (or Hong Kong, Dubai or Malaysia, for that matter).
There are over 80 recipes within the page of my book. Some are local: try Aachi’s Chicken Curry, Mee Goreng or my cheat’s recipe for Kway Pie Tee but there are lots of easy Western classics (think Fabulous Fish Pie, Lasagne, Perfect Roast Chicken and Triple Layer Victoria Sponge to name just a few). Chapters include what to cook for a Dinner Party, to Breakfasts and Kids’ Packed Lunches. There are 10 chapters in total as well as an ingredients glossary for fail-safe shopping.
10. Tell us more how purchasing your cookbook can contribute to a charitable cause.
A donation from each and every cookbook sold in Singapore goes to the local charity HOME which supports and champions the rights of migrant workers here in Singapore. In Hong Kong I support the Path Finders – a charity which ensures that the most vulnerable children born in Hong Kong, and their migrant mothers, are protected and respected.
In Manila, for every book sold I will make a donation to the Visayan Forum Foundation – a charity that innovates solutions to end human trafficking, domestic servitude and modern-day slavery.
11. Where are your recommended places to hang-out here in Singapore with your friends?
I think home-cooked food is such a treat but if we aren’t hosting a dinner party, I love local Chinese food at Por Kee in Tiong Bahru. It’s very casual and you can turn up in your shorts and T-shirt and eat delicious things like cereal prawns (I insist on shell-on!), champagne pork ribs and Hong Kong style fried fish. Once you’re done you can head across the road to Open Door Policy – a short walk away for an after-dinner drink.
I also love The Manhatten Bar at the Regent Hotel for it’s huge cocktail menu and for being the epitome of art deco fabulousness. It makes me feel like I have stepped back in time. My tipple of choice? An Old Fashioned.
I also love shopping with friends; but we go to the wet market rather than down Orchard Road. My favourite markets are Ghim Moh (I live quite near the place) and Tiong Bahru (amazing selection of fish).
12. What are the fun activities that you participate in here in Singapore?
There is so much going on in this city – there is music, art, food, fashion almost at every turn. I love to get involved in as much of it as I can. The last show I saw was the SRT theatre’s Disgraced, which was ground-breaking and brave and a great production. Sing Jazz was amazing and I am looking forward to F1 already. I travel a lot so I never know exactly where I will be, when, so it’s a treat if I am in town and around when there is a big event happening.
13. Lastly, can you share with what is your inspirational mantra in life?
“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” It’s not mine quote, I’m afraid. It’s from Helen Keller. But it’s kick-ass and it’s awesome and it sums up expat life well too. Moving to a new country and putting down roots isn’t easy. If you clung to security, you wouldn’t have come this far.
Wow, that is such an inspiring mantra! We hope we have half of your adventurous and interstate spirit! Thank you for gracing us with an interview. I can’t wait to grab a copy of your cookbook.
For those interested in Frog Michaels’ cookbook, it sells for S$39.90 at Kinokuniya, Da Paolo Gastronomia, The Butcher and any 15 other Singapore stockists. Also visit www.helpinghandseries.com for more information.
If you are an expat or know any expats who are interested to be featured, drop me a line at email@example.com.”